Mousebirds at the Cincinnati Zoo

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

I was happy to finally get to see the Mousebirds. Have known and read about them, but had not been able to watch them. They were on my “birds to see” list at the zoo.

Mousebirds belong to the Coliidae – Mousebirds Family which has six (6) members.

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

They are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers. They are typically about 10 cm in body length, with a long, thin tail a further 20–24 cm in length, and weigh 45–55 grams. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents, in search of berries, fruit and buds. This habit, and their legs, gives rise to the group’s English name. They are acrobatic, and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes (pamprodactyl foot). They also have crests and stubby bills.

Mousebirds are gregarious, again reinforcing the analogy with mice, and are found in bands of about 20 in lightly wooded country. These birds build cup-shaped twig nests in trees, which are lined with grasses. Two to four eggs are typically laid, hatching to give quite precocious young which soon leave the nest and acquire flight.

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) at Cincinnati Zoo) by Lee

One Mousebird, supposedly the male, was hopping up and down. This video shows the two of them. One watching and one jumping. The orange bird is ignoring the whole deal. (I had been watching for a while and then decided to video, of course he went behind the branch.)

(Wikipedia with editing)

Bonus:

Nape – An easy definition is the back of the neck.

Topography of a Bird - Bluebird - Color Key to NA Birds

Notice the Nape between the Crown and the Back

There are quite a few birds that have colored napes that help identify them, such as Woodpeckers, Grebes, etc. Our Blue-naped Mousebird is one where the color of the “nape” is used in its name. While learning to bird watch, I kept saying (and still do) that the Lord should have placed little signs on them. That way when we look at them through binoculars, scopes, cameras, or our eyes, that we could just read the sign.

That is not the way it is, but there are many clues do that help us ID the birds. The variety of the birds with their colors and shapes keep us busy, but aren’t we thankful that He didn’t make them all alike. How boring that would be.

Here are the “-naped” birds:

Chestnut-naped Francolin (Pternistis castaneicollis)
Red-naped Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa)
White-naped Crane (Grus vipio)
Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana)
Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon (Columba delegorguei)
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon (Columba iriditorques)
Island Bronze-naped Pigeon (Columba malherbii)
Scaly-naped Pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa) –*LLABS*
Red-naped Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus dohertyi)
Black-naped Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus melanospilus) *LLABS*
Purple-naped Lory (Lorius domicella)
White-naped Lory (Lorius albidinucha)
Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis)
Yellow-naped Amazon (Amazona auropalliata)
Scaly-naped Amazon (Amazona mercenarius)
White-naped Swift (Streptoprocne semicollaris)
Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba)
Golden-naped Barbet (Megalaima pulcherrima)
Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen)
Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis)
White-naped Woodpecker (Chrysocolaptes festivus)
Blue-naped Pitta (Hydrornis nipalensis)
Rusty-naped Pitta (Hydrornis oatesi)
Grey-naped Antpitta (Grallaria griseonucha)
Chestnut-naped Antpitta (Grallaria nuchalis)
Ochre-naped Ground Tyrant (Muscisaxicola flavinucha)
Rufous-naped Ground Tyrant (Muscisaxicola rufivertex)
White-naped Xenopsaris (Xenopsaris albinucha)
White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus)
Red-naped Bushshrike (Laniarius ruficeps)
Rufous-naped Whistler (Aleadryas rufinucha)
Rufous-naped Greenlet (Hylophilus semibrunneus)
Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
White-naped Monarch (Carterornis pileatus)
Azure-naped Jay (Cyanocorax heilprini)
White-naped Jay (Cyanocorax cyanopogon)
Rufous-naped Tit (Periparus rufonuchalis)
White-naped Tit (Parus nuchalis)
Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana)
White-naped Yuhina (Yuhina bakeri)
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
Chestnut-naped Forktail (Enicurus ruficapillus)
Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
Golden-naped Weaver (Ploceus aureonucha)
Golden-naped Finch (Pyrrhoplectes epauletta)
Blue-naped Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia cyanea)
White-naped Brush Finch (Atlapetes albinucha)
Pale-naped Brush Finch (Atlapetes pallidinucha)
Rufous-naped Brush Finch (Atlapetes latinuchus)
Golden-naped Tanager (Tangara ruficervix)
Green-naped Tanager (Tangara fucosa)
White-naped Seedeater (Dolospingus fringilloides)

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You can see by the photos that the “nape” can be narrow or very broad.

See:

Mousebirds – Carolinabirds

Mousebirds – The Online Zoo

Nape – All About Birds

Cincinnati Zoo Visit

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